The Daybook: Florida-esque Fifth, Missing the Point, and a Look Ahead

March 4, 2009

Butterfly Ballots? Yesterday's special primary election in Illinois' Fifth Congressional District is wrapped up, but the results are still up in the air for one of the three parties. The race for the Green nomination was still too close to call as of this writing, with only 11 votes separating the top two candidates.‚  You wouldn't have known that if you watched many of the city's television stations, or if you had been scanning AP stories late last night, though. See, it looks like the Associated Press might have pulled a Florida 2000, and called the race too early.‚ ‚  Here's an excerpt from a story that crossed the AP wires at about 10:30 last night:
The three candidates who'll face off for former U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel's seat have been chosen. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Democratic Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley won his party's nomination in tonight's special primary election. He had 11,814 or 22.2 percent of the vote. On the Republican side, Rosanna Pulido won the GOP nomination with 969 votes or 25 percent with 98 percent of precincts reporting. The Green Party leader was Mathew Reichel with 164 votes, or 34 percent with 98 percent of precincts reporting. The winner of the April 7 election will finish out the two-year term Emanuel won in November before he resigned to become President Barack Obama's chief of staff.
The top line there clearly indicates that a winner had emerged in each race, and many news sources ran with it.‚  But then, another AP story crossed the wire, this one with raw vote tallies, and an "x" next to a winning candidate.‚  Note the lack of an "x" in the Green Party column.‚  Was this a silent retraction?‚  Hmm...
U.S. House District 5 Dem - Special Primary 571 of 578 precincts - 99 percent x-Mike Quigley 11,910 - 22 percent John Fritchey 9,635 - 18 percent Sara Feigenholtz 9,031 - 17 percent Victor Forys 6,267 - 12 percent Patrick O'Connor 6,190 - 11 percent Charles Wheelan 3,627 - 7 percent Tom Geoghegan 3,253 - 6 percent Paul Bryar 1,088 - 2 percent Jan Donatelli 876 - 2 percent Frank Annunzio 743 - 1 percent Cary Capparelli 699 - 1 percent Carlos Monteagudo 516 - 1 percent U.S. House District 5 GOP - Special Primary 571 of 578 precincts - 99 percent x-Rosanna Pulido 979 - 25 percent Tom Hanson 844 - 21 percent David Anderson 705 - 18 percent Gregory Bedell 661 - 17 percent Daniel Kay 372 - 9 percent Jon Stewart 365 - 9 percent U.S. House District 5 Grn - Special Primary 571 of 578 precincts - 99 percent Mathew Reichel 165 - 34 percent Deb Gordils 154 - 32 percent Mark Fredrickson 69 - 14 percent Alan Augustson 62 - 13 percent Simon Ribeiro 36 - 7 percent
Either way, this is probably not a huge deal, since only 486 Green votes were cast in the 571 precincts counted so far. That means‚  gaining 11 votes for Gordils in the remaining 7 precincts might be a tall task - but you never know, with such a small actual number needed. No word yet on if Greta Van Susteren, Kathrine Harris, or hanging chads were involved. Missing the Point? Here's another interesting story from the AP.‚  The irony of this was pointed out to me by a friend...
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois riverboat casinos are asking the state Legislature to approve a measure allowing them to offer free drinks. A bill cosponsored by Rockford Republican Sen. Dave Syverson would spell out that alcohol can be given away on the floors of the state's nine casinos. Advocates of the measure say current rulesaren't clear on the issue. Supporters of free drinks say Illinois casinos need something to boost patronage after seeing a big decline over the last year, which they blame on the statewide smoking ban. But Anita Bedell of the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems says giving away booze will only cause more problems, including increased gambling. Tom Swoik of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association says casino owners will be responsible servers. --- Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com
I think what Tom Swoik of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association meant to say was, "Increased Gambling? Um, Anita... That's kinda the point." Moving Right Along... Taking a quick look at some of the stories our news staff is working on today:
  • Mike Rhee is taking a closer look at the candidates emerging from the 5th District Primaries, as well as keeping his eye on the Green Party race, and trying to figure out why turnout was so low.
  • Humboldt Park-based West Side correspondent Chip Mitchell is back in the mix.‚  In case you've been wondering where he's been, he took a few weeks off after the birth of his baby daughter.‚  We told him to stop being such a softy, and to get back to work, so he's looking into the closing of several women's clinics in his neck of the woods.
  • Me? I'm working on some secret stories that I can't leak into the blogosphere, lest I get scooped by you.‚ ‚  None of these stories involve playing solitaire to clear my mind, I promise.
That's it for now.‚  Time to head to the Casino, er, I mean, out in the field to do research.‚ ‚  Drop a line or leave a comment, as always.
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